What’s the Difference Between Independent Agents and Captive Agents?
Is one better than the other?
There are many different things to consider when shopping around for insurance. One of the first things to decide is whether you want to go with a captive agent or an independent agency. It’s important to know the difference so you can make the best choice for you and your family.
Captive agents represent one insurance company and sell that specific provider’s insurance. They have a deep knowledge of the plans they’re offering because they’re an employee of that one insurance company. However, they are subject to sell whatever rates the carrier sets. You could also find yourself talking to a different person every time you make a call through an 800 number. Their premiums can usually be reasonable for new customers, but keep in mind that pricing can become volatile based on that company’s desire to stay on your risk.
Independent agents are licensed experts that can give you quotes from many insurance carriers and can also mix and match products from different carriers. They can shop different prices from many carriers all at once and find the best rate for you and your family. Independent agents are often a “one-stop shop”. This means they can provide coverage for every type of insurance you need, including auto, home, medical, life, umbrella, and even business insurance.
You typically will have a dedicated agent or Customer Service Representative who will get to know the small details of your plan and needs. Customer service is very important to independent agents. Additionally, agents who aren’t employed by a single carrier are less likely to be biased when choosing coverage for your family. They are not motivated by commission from one specific company, so you can rest easy knowing they’re getting you the best policy for your insurance dollar.
Because the agent is your personal adviser, they can monitor your plan’s success. If something goes up in price or the agent thinks you can get a better deal, they can be proactive in letting you know and making the changes.
There are pros and cons to both options. Take time to weigh out the options, as the choice is ultimately up to you and the needs of your family.